National News

Coronavirus Community Support Fund

Opens  22nd May, 10:00am

Government has committed £200m for small and medium sized charities and social enterprises. Funding will help maintain and enhance services for vulnerable people affected by the current crisis, where delivery organisations are experiencing income disruption and/or increased demand.

Funding is being distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund, alongside its own funding, and applications will open Friday 22 May, at 10am.

The Fund has two key objectives:

  1. To increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, through the work of civil society organisations.
  1. To reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.

Grants will allow organisations to meet service costs, where they are experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. Grants will also allow organisations to refocus services to address more immediate beneficiary needs, in light of COVID-19.

For more information, and to apply, click here (opens in a new tab)

81.3% of parents will NOT send their children back to school if they reopen in June


The Department for Education has asked schools and nurseries to prepare to reopen from 1st June. Primary schools have been told that they would be the first schools to reopen to welcome back children from reception, Year 1 and Year 6, whilst nurseries and childminders have been told to welcome back all children. asked parents ‘If your child’s school or childcare setting was open and available to you from 1st June, would you send your child back?’ and 20,805 responded.

The results are staggering. 81.3% of parents said ‘No’ with just 18.7% of parents answering ‘Yes’.

37.9% of parents who answered ‘No’ said they were ‘finding it hard to get work done themselves with the children at home but keeping them at home was the safest thing to do’.

You can read the rest of this article here (opens in a new tab)

Social distancing’s impact on service delivery is charities’ biggest challenge says research

From UK Fundraising

Nine-in-ten charities say the pandemic has negatively affected their ability to fulfil their objectives, with Covid-19’s impact on service delivery and fundraising their biggest challenges, according to Pro Bono Economics’ weekly survey, which monitors the impact of the pandemic on charities and voluntary organisations across the UK.

406 charities completed Pro Bono Economic’s survey over the 12 and 13 of May. These were split between 125 small charities (annual income of less than £500,000), 211 medium sized charities (£500,000 and £10 million), 67 large charities (£10 million or more), and three ‘others’.

Charities stated their biggest challenges were:

  • The impact of social distancing on their ability to deliver their services (38% of respondents)
  • The way in which Covid-19 has affected their ability to fundraise (30%)
  • Its effect on their ability to plan ahead (22%)

You can read the rest of the article here (opens in a new tab)

You can read the full results of the survey as an online pdf here (opens in a new tab)

Support For Frontline Workers

The Samaritans have partnered with Shout, Mind, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation to launch ‘Our Frontline’, a round-the-clock, 1:1 support service for health, care, emergency and key workers.

As well as the Our Frontline service, there are now a number of virtual mental health and wellbeing support services that are available for frontline staff:

  • Our Frontline (opens in a new tab) offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, along with a collection of resources, tips and ideas chosen to support your mental health. Text ‘frontline’ to 85258 for a text conversation or call 116 123 for a phone conversation with the Samaritans – all in confidence, with a trained volunteer, at any time.
  • Shout (opens in a new tab) is part of the Our Frontline resources above – this is a free text messaging support service. Staff can send a message with ‘frontline’ to 85258 to start a conversation. This is a place to go if you are struggling to cope and need help.
  • COVID Calm Clinics (opens in a new tab) – free short daily stress management clinics available on Zoom. Easy to access, quick mindfulness stress-busters and confidential discussion.
  • Frontline19 (opens in a new tab)  frontline staff directly affected by COVID-19 and in need of support can access this service for free. It’s quick, easy and absolutely free of charge.

Check the tax rules on waiving your income or donating to charity

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are choosing to give up part of their income to support their business or employers, or donate to charity.

HMRC is keen to support people who choose to waive – or give up – part of their income, particularly when it comes to understanding any tax implications.

Employers, directors and employees have several options to support a business or employer, including:

  • waiving their salary or bonuses before they’re paid
  • waiving the right to any dividends
  • giving salary or dividends back to their employer after they’ve been paid

To donate to charity, people can use:

  • Payroll Giving
  • Gift Aid

For full information go to the Government website (opens in a new tab)

COVID-19: Home Office extraordinary funding for domestic abuse support services


The Home Office will soon be launching a £2 million fund for domestic abuse charities with a national or regional presence which are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and for which other funding streams for domestic abuse charities are not specifically designed.

This document is the guidance for that fund, which sets out the broad eligibility criteria.

Full documentation and details for the fund will be published on this page soon, at which point the bidding period will open (opens in a new tab).

Fully funded short courses for businesses and individuals

Employers and individuals can sign up to gain new skills and a recognised qualification with Total People’s FREE short courses.

Total People is offering a wide range of online short courses, including CPD Certified and Level 2 courses, the equivalent to a high grade GCSE, for adult learners that cover a broad range of subjects in Management, Digital and Health and Social Care.

Qualifications include:

  • Level 2 in Equality and Diversity
  • Level 2 covering the Principles of Team Leading
  • Level 2 IT User Skills
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Dementia Care
  • Autism Awareness

Courses are available to employees looking to upskill, people who have been furloughed, and businesses looking to access Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for existing or furloughed employees. Individuals currently unemployed or who have recently been made redundant are also eligible to apply.

All courses are available to start immediately and delivered online through distance learning, which means individuals can study online at home, supported by a dedicated learning advisor.

These courses are delivered with funding partners including Skills Support for the Workforce – part of the Growth Company, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the European Social Fund.

For more information go to Total People (opens in a new tab)

The impact on outcomes from cancer surgery of the COVID-19 pandemic

The NHS must ensure cancer-surgery delays do not cost more lives than the number of Covid-19 patients saved, the Institute of Cancer Research says.

In some cancers, a three-month delay could make the difference between a tumour being curable or not, Prof Clare Turnbull said.

And her modelling suggested delaying surgery risked thousands of additional deaths.

NHS England is already urging people to seek help for worrying symptoms.


  • Lockdown and re-deployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant disruption to cancer diagnosis and management.
  • 3-month delay to surgery across all Stage 1-3 cancers is estimated to cause >4,700 attributable deaths per year in England.
  • The impact on life years lost of 3-6 month to surgery for Stage 1-3 disease varies widely between tumour types.
  • Strategic prioritisation of patients for diagnostics and surgery has potential to mitigate deaths attributable to delays.
  • The resource-adjusted benefit in avoiding delay in cancer management compares favourably to admission for COVID-19 infection. 

You can find more information here (opens in a new tab)

Women Are Bearing the Emotional Brunt of the Coronavirus Crisis

New analysis published by Ipsos MORI and The Fawcett Society, the gender equality campaigning charity, shows that women are bearing the emotional brunt of the coronavirus crisis. Six out of ten women (61%) are finding it harder to stay positive day-to-day, compared with 47% of men and women are much more worried about our nation as a result of Coronavirus. Half of women (49%) say they are very concerned about the risk the virus poses to the country, compared with a third (36%) of men.  The analysis was conducted on Ipsos MORI surveys of public opinion since the beginning of the outbreak.

But women are more likely than men to have done something to help others:

  • 44% of women say they have contacted someone lonely or vulnerable, compared with 33% of men;
  • 78% have checked in on friends and family to ensure they are ok compared with 63% of men;
  • 21% have delivered supplies to someone self-isolating, compared with 16% of men.

For more information go to the Fawcett Society (opens in a new tab)

Legal aid changes for online immigration appeals “will do irreparable harm”

The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) says that adjustments to legal aid rates will deter lawyers from taking on the most complex cases and push already cash-strapped legal aid firms out of business.

The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, (opens in a new tab) published on 18th May, sets a new legal aid fee for appeals lodged online through the “core case data” platform, or CCD. The President of the First-tier Tribunal, Michael Clements, wants most appeals to be filed via CCD during the pandemic.

The standard fixed fee for a case lodged through CCD will now be £627 for an asylum case, or £527 for a non-asylum case. The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) says that this has major implications for cases that settle before a full hearing — which CCD is specifically designed to encourage.

Lawyers can, roughly speaking, charge a more commercially viable hourly rate once their work on a case exceeds three times the value of the fixed fee. At the moment, the fixed fee is £227, so only £681 worth of work is required before hourly rates can be claimed. With a higher fixed fee, hourly rates can’t be charged until much more work has gone into the case — £1,881 for an asylum case (i.e. three times the new standard fee of £627).

You can read the full statement from the ILPA here (opens in a new tab)